Ohio State takes care of Notre Dame, reminds everyone what could’ve been

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Final: Ohio State 44, Notre Dame 28

Key play: Tyvis Powell intercepts DeShone Kizer

It was clear that Notre Dame had no answer for the Buckeye offense. But without Joey Bosa — we’ll get to that later — Ohio State was struggling to come up with stops. The Irish appeared to be driving again, threatening to make it a one-score game again in the third quarter. But the Buckeyes hurried Kizer and Powell came up with an interception that served as the dagger.

Telling stat: Elliott Fiesta Bowl record four touchdowns

Ezekiel Elliott wanted to eat, and Urban Meyer fed him. Twenty-seven times, to be exact. Elliott did everything possible to make sure he ended his college career on a high, which is what he did. It got to the point where the most entertaining aspect of Elliott’s runs were his touchdown celebrations. He busted out the crop top, and even gave a nod to Bosa’s signature shrug after he was ejected. It was a fitting end to one of the great careers we’ve seen in the B1G in recent memory. You can bet that Elliott — against what was supposed to be a defense loaded with NFL talent — earned himself some money with his performance.

Worth noting:

Bosa’s college career ends on targeting call

Strange, it was. To see Bosa called for targeting on a non-helmet-to-helmet hit was surprising. The officials ruled that Bosa led with the crown of his helmet chasing down Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer. Regardless of whether or not it was the right call, it was a major story of the game. It was one final chance for Bosa to show the world that he deserved to be the No. 1 overall draft pick. Instead, he had to watch the game from the locker room and an already depleted Buckeye defensive line was even more depleted. Talk about a great opportunity for Sam Hubbard. He actually got a critical sack late to stall a Notre Dame drive and looked plenty capable of becoming on of the defensive leaders of the future. But Bosa will definitely be missed in Columbus…just not the rest of the B1G.

-Jaylon Smith goes down with knee injury in first quarter

What a first quarter it was. Before Bosa’s injury happened, Notre Dame’s All-American linebacker buckled his leg and was out for the rest of the game. What Bosa meant to Ohio State, Smith meant to Notre Dame. To see two likely top-five picks out of the game in the first quarter was just bizarre. The Buckeyes already had 14 points with Smith on the field. But without their leading tackler, it was a rough go, to say the least. With the way the Buckeyes were moving the ball, Notre Dame needed all the help it could get on the defensive side. It’s too bad we couldn’t see the Smith-Elliott matchup.

What it means: OSU seniors tie FBS wins mark, but what could’ve been in 2015?

Ohio State’s senior class tied Boise State’s record with their 50th victory. Friday was a fitting close to a four-year era that produced some powerhouse offenses. This was the offense we all expected to see coming into 2015. Elliott runs the show, Barrett makes big throws to Mike Thomas, Jalin Marshall stretches out the defense and the Buckeyes just make it look easy. That’s how it felt like for most of the afternoon. Easy. It’s a shame that we couldn’t have seen the post-Michigan State version of the Buckeyes throughout 2015. There will be a lot of people wondering what this team could’ve done had it snuck into the College Football Playoff. Unfortunately we’ll never know. But still, 50 wins in a four-year stretch is nothing to hang your head about.

REFERENCES

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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